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Elaine Bing
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“Secure in comfort”

21 April 2017, 12:24

It’s so hard to give up middle-class privilege and comfort. It is so hard to stand up and be counted.

Why didn’t most whites in South Africa stand up against apartheid? Because it was more comfortable not to. It was easier to not notice, to pretend it was acceptable, to believe the lies, even when you knew they were lies. What would it have demanded of us to stand up against apartheid? It would have probably meant giving up our middle class existence. It would possibly have meant prison, it could have meant death.

But wasn’t it the right thing to do? To show moral courage. To face our family and friends and say: “It’s the right thing to do.” Of course it was.

But, most of us did not stand up for what was right. We sold our soul for a middle-class existence. We were cowards and we live with that knowledge and will die knowing we did not have the courage to stand against apartheid. Maybe, some of us are trying to not make the same mistake. It does not cost us much (a day’s leave, not courage), but we are at least trying to stand against what is destroying our country. Will we when it becomes more difficult? Maybe there are some of us who would rather make whatever sacrifices are called on us to make rather than continue to face our lack of morality and courage. It is horrible living with the knowledge that you lacked what was needed. That your comfort was more important than justice for all. It won’t be many, but there will be some brave souls.

But our ANC politicians (yes, ANC politicians – they have defined themselves) are showing that they have too much to lose. They are afraid to stand for what is right. The comfort of a middle-class existence weighs far more than the suffering of the people. A middle-class existence weighs more than morality. A middle-class existence weighs more than conscience. In the process, they have become us; they have become that which they fought.  

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